We took Hennie with us to drive Brutes on this trip, but as he is an accountant he also managed our Kitty (pool of money for paying the day-to-day expenses,) and he balanced our books to the last cent with great difficulty I might add.
On this trip we had to pay-into the Kitty using 4 different currencies as we travelled through the countries and he had to keep book of who owed what, but also in which currency the debt was due and then convert it to the currency of the country we were in when the debt was finally paid back to Kitty.
He was the best man for this job ! I wish we can have him with us on every trip.
We returned to Denmark after their winter with spare batteries for all the bikes and old Brutes as we took the cheaper-non-heated storage option and anticipated that all the batteries would be useless after being exposed to minus 10 degrees, but the Toyota as well as 2 of the bikes started as soon as the old batteries were re-connected.
The next morning we explored the rest of Copenhagen and I was once again very impressed with this city. After a lovely lunch next to the canals we drove onto the night-ferry and crossed over to Oslo. But our friend Pie who is also a collector of pre-war vintage Studebakers convinced us that we first had to stop at a collector who has a special Roadster (of which there are only three left in the world, one of which was in Pie’s garage awaiting renovation,) so off we went up into the hill behind Oslo to see the car. Then we headed towards the Fjords at Bergen in search of another lost family member before following the coast all the way up to the most Northern tip of the continent, at North Cape.
I believe there cannot be a country as beautiful as Norway, it is absolutely stunning, and every time as you exit a tunnel (and this is the land of tunnels, we must have passed through 100 tunnels on this leg, one being 11km long,) or round a bend, you are just speechless as the view just explode with a blue heaven, with white clouds, and this is reflected on the Emerald and others blue ) waters of the Fjord, with green grass and trees, also reflected in the water, with the hills dotted with the little red houses and barns, and as the snow melts it forms many waterfalls all falling down the mountains into the Fjord. And every time you go around the next bend (no straight roads remember,) the view changes slightly but the change in the light and the different angle changes the scene and this just continues nonstop, day after day.
Yes Norway is expensive, but the camping is 5 star and we cooked our own food every evening, and yes, the fresh salmon bought from the farms and off trucks makes a memorable meal and we never got bored with fresh fish and fresh bread for a quick lunch stop or dinner.
I was surprised at all the “action” we found when we crossed over the Arctic Circle at 66,33 degrees North as I was not expecting other people as stupid as us to be riding a motorbike in temperatures as low as 2,8 degrees, but at the Visitors Centre at the top of the mountain there were at least another 200 bikers and 50 camper-vans toasting each other for arriving at this angle on Mother Earth where the sun no longer sets in the summer.
We continued North but then my decision not to have my back tyre changed in Kiev came back to bite me as I was now already running with the canvas showing and in desperate need to fit my spare tyre which was on the back of the Toyota, but finding a tyre-shop with the correct equipment this far North was not going to happen, so I continued with caution.
The landscape became barren the closer we continued North. We had to dodge herds of Reindeer who would run and dive in front of us trying their best to get run-over and every now and then we passed very committed cyclist peddling into the North-Winds. We arrived at the town of Nordkapp and rented a Fisherman’s hut on the Fjord where I cooked a Pasta and Peens tried catching some fish from our deck in minus 2 degrees weather at midnight wearing his sunglasses as the sun was still far from the horizon.
The next day we rode further past convoys of tourist busses to the Visitors Centre which is at 72,6 degrees north. Peens decided that as bicycles can ride right-up to the Monument\statue, so can we, so we rode along the walk-way and parked in front of this large metal statue of the earth and took some photos, one of which I used as the Header with our Logo for this Blog. You will see from the way we are dressed that this is the closest one can get by road to the North Pole, and if we are luck and blessed enough, I hope to end this trip in a few years from now at the most Southern tip of Africa, the closest one can get to the South Pole.
Then we turned around and headed to the tyre-repair shop in Noordkapp where three bikes got new tyres. Apart from me who needed a back-tyre, Tex and Peens both needed front tyres as their original calculations that they would make it to Helsinki with their tyres was wrong as no one knew the amount of bends we would have to do, there are no straight roads in Norway, as you come out of the one bend you immediately enter the next bend in the opposite direction.
While passing through Lapland we spent an evening with local Sami People, (indigenous people of this area) learning about their culture and making smoke-signals on the fire from within the Ti-pee (tent.) Old Brutes received a set of Reindeer horns which was fastened to the bull-bar and I wonder how long they will last before a policeman or border guard insist they are removed. (Currently we are in the middle of Russia and up to now no one has told us to remove it.) We also changed the filters and oil on Brutes to match the new look with a new clean burning motor.
We found the straight roads of Sweden and Finland very boring after Norway and the only excitement we had in these two countries was the weekend we spent at a Drag Race event with new friends we met on a ferry who invited us to join them as they were racing their Top-Fuel Drag Bike. Now we know what the Swedes and Finnish people do in the long winter as we saw entire families all racing their own drag bike or car, dad with the long dragsters and baby sister on her little bike, mom in a Funny-Car and the brother on his special-tuned road bike.
In Helsinki we first went to KTM and arranged that the bikes, who had each done 32 000km by now, receive a proper service and new tyres and we all opted for Heated Grips. We were also very fortunate that they had space for the bikes and the Toyota to be locked-up in until we returned in a few weeks.